AGENCIES, New Delhi/Kolkata: Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to icons of Bengal and even attempted some Bengali as he addressed Durga Puja pandals on the opening day of the five-day celebrations in the state.
“Whenever the need was felt in India’s history, Bengal has always led the way for India and shown the path. There have been many renowned people who have come from Bengal and have contributed immensely in guiding the nation in the right direction,” Modi said as he opened celebrations on Sashti, at a Puja in Kolkata’s Salt Lake via video link.
“The festival of Durga Puja is a festival that reflects the unity and strength of India. It is also a reflection of the traditions and culture that comes from Bengal,” the PM added.
Reeling off the names of illustrious sons and daughters of Bengal, including freedom fighters, writers, artistes and others, the PM remarked: “If I continue to take the names of such Bengalis, the day will end but we won’t run out of names.”
প্রার্থনা করি আরো একবার পশ্চিমবঙ্গ জেগে উঠুক এবং আত্মনির্ভর ভারত গঠনের প্রয়াসে শক্তি যোগাক। pic.twitter.com/amEyvqTqWi
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 22, 2020
The Prime Minister interspersed his praise for Bengal and Bengalis with an inventory of his government’s schemes and how they have helped the state. “Women are the symbol of Ma Durga; we are working towards the empowerment of women through various policies and schemes,” he said, referring to the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’ programme of his government.
Modi also delivered a warning for precautions against the coronavirus, especially with videos showing crowds in Bengal throwing caution to the winds. “I urge everyone to ensure distancing and wear masks during celebrations at all times,” he said.